Ludhiana: Delayed auction, booze ban triggers lull in liquor business | punjab$ludhiana | Hindustan Times
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Ludhiana: Delayed auction, booze ban triggers lull in liquor business

Not only are alcohol lovers in the city upset over the SC booze ban, but even liquor contractors are disgruntled with the ban which prohibits the sale of liquor within 500m of state and national highways. Add to that a delayed auction of liquor vends and it’s the perfect recipe for disastrous business prospects which is being reflected in the lull that has been triggered by the non-availability of fresh stock.

punjab Updated: Apr 13, 2017 12:50 IST
HT Correspondent
Ludhiana
The fresh lot of beer and regular blended and premium whisky has not hit the shelves yet.(Jagtinder Singh Grewa;/HT Photo)

Not only are alcohol lovers in the city upset over the SC booze ban, but even liquor contractors are disgruntled with the ban which prohibits the sale of liquor within 500m of state and national highways. Add to that a delayed auction of liquor vends and it’s the perfect recipe for disastrous business prospects which is being reflected in the lull that has been triggered by the non-availability of fresh stock.

Calling the season “insipid”, liquor contractors rued that sales had nosedived by 70% as compared to last year as fresh stocks were not out yet. The fresh lot of beer and regular blended and premium whisky has not hit the shelves yet due to which boozers in the city are perturbed for being denied their poison. The customer base has been hit severely as shops are sending buyers back from the counter.

“The SC booze ban forced shut hundreds of vends operating on highways. Shifting them from the highway to the interiors of the city is a herculean task and cannot be done overnight,” said a liquor contractor. He has 12 liquor vends to his name in liquor baron Avinash Doda’s company.

PROCUREMENT UNDER L-1 LICENCE DELAYED

Belated liquor vend auctions this year have also delayed procurement under the L-1 licence. Under this licence, the wholesaler of liquor reserves the right to further distribute liquor to the contractors (L2) operating at a district level. The L-1 licence enables you to procure liquor directly from the distillery.

Gurinder Dhillon of Dhillon Group said, “We have not received the fresh stock so far and sending the customer back from the counter is not a viable option in a scenario where the new liquor policy does not accord us much in terms of profitability. We hope for clarity on the allocation of fresh stock under L-1 scheme in the coming days.”

“Relocating or opening a vend from the scratch in the interiors of the city, especially close to residential areas, academic institutions or religious places, will not be easy. We are working out all possible modalities to avoid losses in the coming months,” he added.

A resident of Model Town, Balbeer Arora, said, “I wanted to purchase two cartons of a branded beer for my younger brother’s birthday party last week but to our dismay even after visiting around half a dozen liquor shops in the city, we could not get even one. We then changed our plan and switched to a regular whisky brand.”

Deputy excise and taxation commissioner JK Jain said, “There are no pending applications. We have issued licences to all who applied,” adding that all L-1 licences were issued.